Fernando Alonso’s Indianapolis 500 car unveiled by Arrow McLaren SP


Arrow McLaren SP unveiled the No. 66 Dallara-Chevrolet that Fernando Alonso will attempt to qualify for the 104th Indianapolis 500. The race will take place Aug. 23 on NBC after being delayed three months by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The car will be sponsored by Ruoff Mortgage, which also was on Takuma Sato’s winning entry in the 2017 Indy 500.

“I’m very happy to finally see the car which I will race in the Indianapolis 500. We had to wait longer than usual to release the livery but that means that engines will be starting soon in Indianapolis,” Alonso said in a statement.

Fernando Alonso’s No. 66 entry in the 104th Indianapolis 500 (Arrow McLaren SP).

This will be the two-time Formula One champion’s third attempt at starting the Indy 500.

Alonso led 27 laps before finishing 24th because of an engine failure in his 2017 debut, which also marked his first start in the IndyCar NTT Series.

Alonso failed to qualify for the 2019 Indy 500.

Here’s the release from Arrow McLaren SP on Alonso’s livery for the 104th Indy 500:

Fernando Alonso’s quest for motorsport’s elusive Triple Crown was set to resume more than a month ago at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, for the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500. The universe had other plans, with the coronavirus delaying the race until August.

With NTT INDYCAR SERIES action resuming, excitement is building at Arrow McLaren SP, with reveal of the No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet.

“I’m very happy to finally see the car which I will race in the Indianapolis 500. We had to wait longer than usual to release the livery but that means that engines will be starting soon in Indianapolis,” said Fernando Alonso.

Alonso, two-time Formula One World Champion and double 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, will be making his second attempt at the Greatest Spectacle in Racing. The Spaniard first ran the Indy 500 in 2017, when he led 27 laps before a blown engine caused him to finish 24th but did not stop him from winning Rookie of the Year honors.

“In 2017, Fernando proved that he can not only compete in the race, but that he can fight for the win,” Arrow McLaren SP co-owner Sam Schmidt said. “The livery is great. It represents the colors of Ruoff Mortgage while maintaining the livery design of all the Arrow McLaren SP entries. It’s unlike any entry that we have seen, which will make it easy to spot for fans.”

Ruoff Mortgage is no stranger to the Indy 500, having tasted victory in the 2017 race with Takuma Sato, and the entire company cannot wait to give it another shot with a driver of Alonso’s caliber.

“The livery is sleek and smart and boasts our primary branding scheme with that of Fernando’s brand,” said Mark Music, President & CEO of Ruoff Mortgage. “This design will help the No. 66 Ruoff Mortgage car stand out in the crowded field…especially when Fernando crosses the checkered flag. We can’t wait to see it on the track in our own backyard.”

Alonso and his unique livery will join Arrow McLaren SP’s two full-time entries of Pato O’Ward and Oliver Askew for the 104th Indianapolis 500 on August 23rd.

“I think it looks great. I think it complements our cars very well,” said Pato O’Ward. “I’m very much looking forward to working with someone who has so much knowledge and so many years in motorsports. I can’t wait to work with each other and push for the strongest package that we can have.”

“Never in my 15 years of racing would I have guessed that I would be racing alongside Fernando as a teammate, let alone at the Indianapolis 500,” added Oliver Askew. “I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can from him…not many drivers get that opportunity.”

O’Ward and Askew will surely benefit from a veteran driver with 32 Formula One victories under his belt joining the team, and Alonso looks forward to joining his new teammates.

“I think the atmosphere will be nice with Oliver and Pato, two drivers that I consider really talented,” said Alonso. “I’m confident that Arrow McLaren SP will be competitive. The team has the right experience, well-qualified people, and great resources.”

Alonso’s first shot at the Indy 500 in 2017, and his love for the race, was inspired largely by McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, who had a vision of getting the famous brand back in the historic race.

“I’m excited that we get to finally show the fans Fernando’s car that he will drive at the Indianapolis 500 this year,” added Zak Brown “It looks awesome and I can’t wait to see it hit the track in August in Fernando’s hands.”

The Arrow McLaren SP team will see plenty of action between now and the 104th Running of the Indianapolis 500, taking to the track next this weekend for the GMR Grand Prix on the IMS Road Course on Saturday, July 4th at 12:00PM ET on NBC.

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”